Landmark business rates dispute reaches Supreme Court

12 Mar 2020

Yesterday the Supreme Court started to hear an appeal in a long-running dispute over the rating of ATM machines, specifically whether ATM facilities inside and/or outside of stores should be assessed for business rates.
 
An initial decision (in 2017) that certain ATMs within premises should not be assessed for business rates, but ATMs outside a store should be assessed, was challenged by Cardtronics and various supermarkets.  The appeal (in 2018) was successful, with the Court of Appeal ruling that ATMs inside or outside stores should not be assessed for additional business rates.  The decision was welcomed by retailers large and small; they had paid £300million in business rates on ATMs since 2010, and the Court ruling meant that that money would have to be refunded.
 
The Valuation Office Agency was then granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. They are appealing the whole decision, arguing to retain business rates in relation to all ATMs.
 
Emily Wood of DMH Stallard’s Real Estate Dispute Resolution team has represented Cardtronics throughout the above litigation
 
Emily says:
“With the business rates system as a whole ripe for review, High Streets across the country that are struggling to survive, and banks pulling out of rural communities, this case has huge ramifications not only for the industry, but for communities as it becomes less attractive to provide “free cash” machines. And it may not stop at ATMs.  The Valuation Office already has its eye on rating coin-cashing machines.  Are Oyster card readers, children’s rides, or lottery ticket stands next?”
 
Cardtronics is the world's largest non-bank ATM operator and manages nearly 300k machines across four continents; around 20,000 are in the UK.

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